H.264 List of Shame: all the patent holders

May 18, 2010

The following organizations hold one or more patents in the H.264/AVC patent pool:

(Source: Wikipedia MPEG LA)

Apple Inc.
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
France Télécom, société anonyme
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Fujitsu Limited
Hitachi, Ltd.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
LG Electronics Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NTT docomo
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Robert Bosch GmbH GmbH
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company
Sedna Patent Services, LLC
Sharp Corporation
Siemens AG
Sony Corporation
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Toshiba Corporation
Victor Company of Japan, Limited

Further reading

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA

No, you can’t do that with H.264

Is H.264 a legal minefield for video pros?

Why this list…?

It’s a reminder for myself when it comes to spending money or investing in equipement. And yes, I like to share this list with everyone who cares about free artistic expression and who thinks that the moving image is too important and precious and should not be controlled by anyone and surely not by corporations or patent pools. (Software) patents are the cancer of this economy: they encourage greed, create monopolies, discourage innovation and as we are now seeing with the H.264 licensing fiasco they can seriously harm your video business, specially smaller ones.

Save free web video incl. my own movie “Vincent”: vote with your browsers (dump all your Apple/MS browsers!)

May 16, 2010

If the MPEG-LA, the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2, has it their way I am an endangered species: “Vincent“, being 44 min. long would not qualify for the MPEG-LA’s “free” offer, latest after 2015 and there is no way that I (or someone else) will be paying protection money to a fucking patent pool for “Vincent”.

My work would simply not be available online any more (thanks to software patents no alternative). Welcome to the age of Corporate Fascism. It’s standing at your and my front door. But you can still act now:

* vote with your browser: since Apple and Microsoft – both H.264 patent holders – are pushing for H.264 as the future web standard for video: simply dump your Apple/MS browsers now and use Firefox, Chrome or Opera. If not: you might be paying for the rest of your life with more ads (yes, H.264 is “free” for the end user…).

* let others know what is at stake here: those people would like to/are about to establish a MONOPOLY ON THE MOVING IMAGE (lock-in via video codec) – a pretty scary systemic change:

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA

And for all my younger – and not so young – readers: if this was a Harry Potter movie Dumbledore would say:

“Dark times lay ahead, Harry. Soon we’ll all have to choose between what is right — and what is easy.”

“The Hurt Locker”: here is one DVD buyer less now!

May 15, 2010

TorrentFreak reports that the makers of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest “The Hurt Locker” are going to sue “Thousands of BitTorrent Users.

I see.

And here in Europe there is now one buyer less for “The Hurt Locker” DVD: me.

I’m quite of a fan of Kathryn Bigelow’s work, I was hyping that movie (among my friends) long before everyone was only talking about the movie that brought DRM to the mainstream cinema, “Avatar” (and no, I still have not seen “Avatar” yet because of the DRM they use).

From now on I will write about individual Hollywood movies and pick them out for boycott – just like Hollywood picks out individual fans that they’ll sue!

I love (good) movies. I don’t “pirate” movies for one good reason: “piracy” simply helps promoting (Hollywood) movies and I wish people would stop distributing what I think is really to about 9/10 unwatchable anyway.

Yet if Hollywood continues to sue my movies loving brothers and sisters I will stop buying from Hollywood entirely and I will stop watching new Hollywood movies entirely.

And in the long run:

I hope that all sane and creative people will stop working for an industry that has lost its touch to the audience long ago.

And this is not even talking in detail about the incredible superficiality and the poor handwork (e.g. scripts) that Hollywood pushes on the market these days.

I am specially sad that the makers of “The Hurt Locker” are now joining in the corporate fascism tactics that Hollywood is using. This movie is an exception, it’s actually really, really good – yet I will not buy it on DVD now, the movie simply will not exist in my collection, it will be missed, yet this is what needs to be done now.

This system needs to be changed. I won’t shut up. Not me.

A Kingdom For A Dead Horse

May 11, 2010

“A kingdom for a horse!”, cried the King.

Quickly they went and brought him a horse – a dead horse…

And when they took away his kingdom the King complained:

“But this is a dead horse…!”

They told the King that where they come from there used to be an old saying:

“When your horse is dead, get off the horse.”

Now over time, they told the King, things changed a bit and today the saying goes:

“When your horse is dead, go and sell your horse!”

And so it came that the King gave his whole kingdom –

Yet all he got – was this old and dead horse…!

H.264 may You find the grace to give me my daily fix of decoding today

May 10, 2010

Hail to our new Overlord,

The One and only,

Owner of all legal moving pictures compression algorithms of this world,

Great conqueror of Theora, Dirac and all the other “open source” algorithms,

Master of all moving pictures distribution channels that legally exist:

May You find the grace to give me my daily fix of de/en-coding today.

Hail to MPEG LA!

Hail! Hail! Hail!

H.264 licensing explained: it’s like “Schwarzer Peter” (“Old Maid”)

May 6, 2010

H.264 = last one pays (= gets the looser card)

As explained on engadget:

“…the person who sells the encoder and the person who sells the content are the ones who have to pay.”

So this here (also quoted from engadget) is *not* good:

“Yes, but it’s not as bad as it seems. First off, we’ve directly asked MPEG-LA whether or not using an H.264 camera simply to shoot video for a commercial purpose requires a license, and the answer is no.”

They are lawyers! R-e-f-r-a-s-e your question…!!!

“We’ve also asked whether an end user watching H.264 videos would ever have to pay or be licensed, and the answer to that question is also no. Yes, the license terms are worded poorly, but those are the answers straight from the patent horse’s mouth. Everyone can breathe again, ‘kay?”

Someone down the line will have to pay: “…the person who sells the content are the ones who have to pay”.

And what do you think will hold up in court? The written agreement you bought with the camera or what a clever lawyer says who obviously was sent to this H.264 PR event…? Those a l-a-w-y-e-r-s!!! Make them sign their own statements and be very careful with your wording…!!!

H.264 based video business = lock-in as soon as you push that record button

So if you are having a video business licensing fees for your H.264 recorded footage will be due down the line!

Basically your business will be *disadvantaged* over the business that avoids the H.264 lock-in!

H.264 licensing = the last one in the distribution chain pays, he gets the “Schwarzer Peter” (= the looser card – an old children’s card game here in Europe).

So what are my clients going to say when I sell them footage that they will need to pay licensing fees for…?! My guess is the bill will land on my table, at least it will weaken my position when it comes to selling/licensing my own video clip/3D footage!

I’m not so stupid and will build my business upon that model, pass on the “Schwarzer Peter” card (= looser card) to my clients!

As a film and video maker I like to 100% own my work.

What a lock-in business model it is that Apple, MS, the MPEG LA and all those companies that hold H.264 patents have built!

H.264 is the appropriation of your work from the moment you press that record button on your H.264 camera.

Why on earth is this legal? I can see the word m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y written all over this, specially when thinking of Steve Jobs/Apple (quoted from Open Letter to Steve Jobs): “All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.”

I guess it comes down to this:

All video codecs are equal, but some codecs are more equal than others.

Hello FCC…, hello EU commission…, hello consumer rights advocates…, hello film and video makers of this world:

This is our wake-up call…!!!

Visionary: “Zeitgeist: Addendum”

October 8, 2008

“Zeitgeist: Addendum” by Peter Joseph is a radical, visionary and thought-provoking documentary that comes with perfect timing (released online on Oct. 2, 2008) to a world (financial) crisis:

it basically explains why we need to change our money based economy if we want to live up to our true potentials.

There are one or two points where the movie seems to shift a bit too far into another direction, but in the end I think it all works out well enough. This movie will have its strong critics, they will say that it’s just propaganda, but it also will have its fans…

I would call “Zeitgeist: Addendum” an anti-propaganda movie – offering the viewer radically different perspectives than those that we get to see everyday in our world (in the mainstream media, at work, in school, etc.). One quote from the beginning sets the tone of what this is about:

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Goethe)

Whether you (politically) agree with some of what is being said or not, I think the decision to (not) watch this movie is a real life red pill/blue pill moment…

On the film making side the editing has to be specially mentioned, its sometimes minimal style (only voice over and an (almost) black screen for more than just a short moment) offers room to form your own images and this is quite powerful… All in all it’s a bit like an indie editor’s “J.F.K.”.

Maybe “Zeitgeist: Addendum” could be a bit shorter and some of the changes might come across as too radical for some viewers… While it’s not perfect it attempts to achieve so much and succeeds in so many areas that its shortcomings don’t harm the overall experience and effect I think. The movie is very inspiring. Towards the end there is maybe a bit too much of the techno/spiritual theme and maybe there is just a bit too much of believing in technology at times, but all in all there is so much that works so well (and that makes so much sense) that this can be seen as a good starting point for a discussion…

“Zeitgeist: Addendum” is like “The Matrix” but for real – if you are ready to take this cinematic blue red (just remember which is which…!;-) pill…

(Link to its Goolge Video page, link to the film maker’s site.)

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